Rob Foxcroft

Around any symbol or emotion, you can feel a kind of resonance, anaura. This subtle aura is not merely associated feeling, but is itself the meaning of the symbol.

Here is another image. A symbol is a mere surface. For example, an
emotion – a feeling in the ordinary sense. It simply isn’t enough, when
we know only the thin surface, the symbol itself. We need to dip our
hands down into a thickness beneath, into hidden and uncertain
depths.

Or again. It is as if we are letting a vessel down into a cool, deep well.
Drawing up good water. Here, at this spring, dreams, images and
music find their interpretation, and ideas their origin. Here the spirit of
healing dwells.

Every word or image or feeling is pregnant – full of possibility. We may
sit with a symbol, gently touching or tapping it, sensing around, behind
and beneath.

What is this like? Perhaps like being in an ancient wood of oak, pine or
cryptomeria, with grey and mossy rocks, at a water’s edge – I may feel
wretched, but the source is constant. I have only to stay here at the
edge – only to be present. The source is like some place of rebirth. It
seems to be inexhaustible.

Listening to ourselves with compassion

Phases

Deciding – We make the turn to the source when the forward
movement is blocked. Something in your life is stuck, troubled, haunted or
puzzling. Or perhaps it is joyful, playful, longing or fertile. It may even be
hurtling forward or frenzied. Go slowly! You are deciding where to begin.

ResonatingWhat is this “something” about?
This blocked or uncertain place has a unique overall quality, mood or tone.
It has a story to tell, since it is connected to your life. Typically, the feel
of it is both subtle and distinct.

The feel is physical. It is a sense of meaning. A sense of aboutness. It
is the feeling of all-of-this. You can refer to it now, directly. It may come
right here in the middle of your body. Or sometimes the feeling is barely there
– a vagueness, a nothingness, an absence. There may be a two-way conflict, in
which both sides must be heard. Or perhaps there are several strands. Often
there is a feeling about the feeling.

Now you are looking for “handle”. This is a word or a phrase – or perhaps
an image, sound or gesture. It describes the quality of the feeling. It needs to
feel just right – so when you lose the feeling, the handle will bring it back.

Sensing-and-WelcomingWaiting for the gift of the felt
sense
.
Infinitely patient, intent and still, you are a poet and an artist. You place
your attention delicately and precisely, returning to the feeling over and over.
You are sensing for the crux of the issue. Little by little, tentatively,
words or images, sounds or gestures form.

When something comes which resonates, you will feel a distinct moment of
movement, a moment when it appears that change actually occurs. You
welcome this small felt opening or easing with thankfulness, taking time to
savour it. Afterwards, you ask: is there more?

Paths

Befriending – You are not the feeling – you yourself are not any
content.
You sit down quietly next to the feeling. You become profoundly feeling-
centred. You are here to listen with interest and great kindness to an
emerging story – here to be fearless and sincere with yourself, about how
things are going (or not going) in your life right now. You are preparing a
friendly welcome, since the feeling may be about to open.

Or maybe not. Sometimes it seems as if nothing will ever change. Still, you
can be with the way it is. We can be gentle, accepting, patient and enduring.
Nothing has to happen. We can always be kind.

Actively un-knowing – We can�t know what may come. We may be
carried
far beyond our limitations. Something shadowy and unformed is beginning
to stir in the silence of the heart. You are dwelling here for a little while –
waiting, asking and holding. It is essential to be uncertain – open, curious,
unintrusive, and deeply receptive.

Listening to one another with compassion

Contact – Contact is the key to any friendship. Until we are in
contact, the good which may happen is severely limited, and the evil
lowering.

When there is a real sense of meeting or encounter, an awareness of a
living contact actively sustained moment after moment after moment,
a profound mutual sense of accepting and being accepted by one
another may creep up on us. A quality of trust and safety flowers, and
a sense of rapport or mutual resonance may grow naturally.

Being in contact is a miracle, both in itself, and in its creative and
healing power.

Humanity – Everything we have learned or can imagine is with us.
Our feelings, memories, dreams and reflections inform our meeting,
and yet nothing must come between us, nor disturb what is unfolding.
Our sensitivity to the human condition is a vast and subtle
background, which profoundly illuminates what is happening here.

Humanity is imagination, out of which empathy is possible.

There is a clear duty to be vividly alive – to be in the body – to bring to
our listening our whole experience of ourselves, of persons, and of the
world – in so far as we can.

The person we are listening to has a right to expect that, because
otherwise what we are offering is inescapably – in the present moment
– an experience of conditionality, isolation, ambiguity, abandonment
and betrayal.

Humanity is about standing in the open – about having the courage to
be defenceless – about fully engaging with one another with the whole
of our being.

Humanity is about being aware of our own feelings.

Reflecting-and-Refusing – As the person says each little piece,
you say back the whole felt essence of it.

The person tends to pause, asking : is that right? – Listening is easy,
when the person refuses to be misunderstood!

Both people are taking great care that what is being said is heard in
just the way that it is meant, that nothing gets twisted or heard in a
merely conventional sense. In this way we know that what is meant is
what is heard, and so you and your companion stay close together.

Even so, some of what comes may be private, just for the person.

A listener is not a guide. Your work as a listener is to enter the other
person’s world, as if it is your own, but always without losing the as-if.

Always following – never losing sight of the person, the one who is
carrying this weight of experiencing, living it, going through both the
pain and the joy of it.

Our being together is gentle, vivid, friendly, supple, easy and
respectful. There is a natural sway here, to-and-fro, flowing forward.
Sensing-and-saying may tend to slow down, gradually becoming clear,
deep, wide, and strongly forward-moving.

Listening is very peaceful.

Listening is easy. You can do it.

From ancient times, listening – to ourselves and to others – has brought
gifts of imagination, vision, blessing and healing.

What happens may be surprising.

What comes may be fresh and new – forceful and active – or tender and
heart-warming.

Touching the Source – Brief Version

Listening to ourselves with compassion

Phases

Deciding
We make the turn to the source
when the forward movement is blocked.

Resonating
This blocked or uncertain place has
a unique feel, quality, mood or tone.

Sensing-and-Welcoming
We return to the body over and over,
as words or images, sounds or gestures form.

Paths

Befriending
We sit down quietly next to the feeling.
Nothing has to happen.

Actively un-knowing
We can’t know what may come.
We may be carried far beyond our limitations.

Listening to one another with compassion

Contact
An awareness of a living contact, actively sustained
moment after moment after moment.

Humanity
Humanity is imagination, out of which empathy is possible.
Humanity is about being aware of our own feelings.

Reflecting-and-Refusing
As the person says each little piece,
you say back the whole felt essence of it.

The person tends to pause, asking, �Is that right?”
Listening is easy, when the person refuses to be misunderstood.

Listening is contact, borne on the wings of empathy.
Listening is easy. You can do it.

10th June 2005